The Category C jail, which will open in 2025, and will be run by a private contractor, will be built next door to maximum- security HMP Full Sutton, in East Yorkshire.
The plans were given outline planning consent in 2019 despite 3,300 objections.
Full Sutton residents, along with people from the area’s surrounding villages, ran a major campaign in 2019 to stop the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) proposal, fearing that the village - which only has a population of 440 - would become a “prison fortress”.
Humberside Police had also objected on the grounds that the new prison would push up crime rates, placing “significant additional demand” on the force.
The prisoners are in the second-lowest risk category who are approaching the end of their sentences. They will be housed in six four-storey cross-shaped blocks.
Ward councillor Leo Hammond said while locals still didn’t want the jail, they’d worked to mitigate its impact. That has included police and crime commissioner (PCC) Jonathan Evison agreeing to fund a permanent police presence at the jail, following concerns about the prisoners who get released into the community six months before their terms ends and also their visitors.
Coun Hammond said: “He (the PCC) has agreed to fund police officers and a pod. We’ve been waiting for the MoJ to give us the land and pay for utilities - the next stage is to get planning permission.”
He said it should help deal with issues like speeding outside the jail, which could get worse with 600 new staff travelling from all corners of the county to work.
A 3.5m high bund is also being built round the prison, planted with trees which should help protect neighbours from noise and light pollution.
At its peak during construction the MoJ says as many as 1,000 workers will be on site, providing a boost for the local economy. At least 50 of the jobs will be earmarked for ex-offenders - giving them the opportunity to gain new skills and get back on the straight and narrow.
Prisons Minister Stuart Andrew, said: “I am delighted work can begin on yet another modern, innovative prison that will skill-up untold numbers of offenders to live a crime-free life while making our streets safer.
“The new prison at Full Sutton will also support hundreds of jobs, in construction and afterwards, representing a major boost to Yorkshire’s economy.”
Kier has been involved in major projects including Crossrail and HS2. Group MD of Kier Construction Liam Cummins, said: “Delivery of the new prison at Full Sutton represents over a decade of Kier operating as a successful partner to the Ministry of Justice and highlights our ongoing commitment to the New Prisons’ Programme.
“This project will create hundreds of jobs as well as providing opportunities for prisoners on release, and we’re proud to give people the opportunity to work with us to deliver a best-in-class facility built on modern methods of construction and engineering excellence.”
The MoJ says the new Yorkshire jail will have an “unprecedented array” of workshops and classrooms, so prisoners spend their time behind bars learning new skills.
If HMP Five Wells is anything to go by, cells will be furnished with a bed, chair, desk, TV, drawers, pin board, and shower, toilet, sink.
Inmates there have smart tablets that acting as multi-purpose phone, education, banking, well-being and shopping portal. They can order meals and shop for items like birthday presents via an online store, paid for by wages earned in the jail.